Climate Risk Management: Making decisions and dealing with imperfect information

by CottonInfo climate, energy and carbon technical specialist Jon Welsh.

Evaluating and interpreting layers of climate information, weather acronyms and colour charts at key decision making times can be a daunting prospect. Some growers have their favourite weather sites on which they base their decisions, while others prefer to watch for a flock of black cockatoos on the wing or a cactus flowering to see if rain is coming. Others only believe forecast rain when the gutters are running water. Those that have been burnt by a forecast in the planning stage have an inherent distrust in weather predictive systems.

Solar the hot topic at cotton Big Day Outs

Alternative and renewable energy sources, including solar for powering cotton production, were hot topics at this week’s (24 and 25 February) CottonInfo Big Days Out at St George, QLD and Gunnedah, NSW.

The days attracted 60 and 80 participants respectively and visitors were keen to hear from experienced growers, energy researchers, auditors, consultants and system providers.

Ian and Anne Brimblecombe hosted the first day at their St George farm, “Burgorah”, while day two was on Scott Morgan’s property “Kensal Green”, Gunnedah.

Rising costs, climate change prompt shift to solar

An energy expenditure that had been climbing by around 10 per cent per year coupled with concerns about climate change have prompted St George cotton irrigators Ian and Anne Brimblecombe, “Burgorah”, to install solar panels which generate 100kW of electricity.

Their 400 250-watt solar panels will soon be joined by a supplementary bank of panels which will enable a 70kW fixed-speed pump to be powered by solar alone on sunny days.

Emissions Reduction Fund: ‘fertiliser efficiency in irrigated cotton’ method

The Department of Environment has been busy over the last year making new greenhouse gas emissions reduction methods available for use under the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). A number of these are designed to benefit the farming sector, including a ‘fertiliser efficiency in irrigated cotton’ method released in December 2014.  

Water running short? How do we manage our irrigations?

When water is limited growers may need to change from their normal irrigation practice to optimise yield, quality and water use efficiency. As with fully irrigated production, the aim is to limit or minimise the amount of stress on the crop. Cotton’s response to water stress depends on the stage of growth that stress occurs, the degree of stress and the length of time the stress is present.

Late season irrigation management

Many crops, particularly in the northern regions, are fast approaching cutout. Cutout occurs when the plant has 4-5 nodes above white flower (NAWF) and generally occurs late January to mid February. This is the time of the last effective flower which can be used to plan irrigations after cutout.  End of season water requirements can be determined by estimating the number of days until defoliation and predicting the amount of water likely to be used over this period.

Last effective flower and cut out dates

Crop walk and breakfast - Southern NSW (Darlington Point)

The Southern Valley's Cotton Grower Assoication is inviting southern NSW growers to a crop walk and breakfast on Thursday 22 January.

Taking place at Point Farms, the walk will cover five key topics:

  • Nutrition trial - the importance of N and P in the system (Incitec/Yenda Prods)
  • Pix rate observations - methods adopted for 2014-15 season
  • Practical use of crop imaging
  • Nitrogen uptake and efficiencies (Kieran O'Keeffe, regional development officer, CottonInfo)
  • Thrip trials (Sandra McDougall, entomologist, NSW DPI).

Date: Thursday 22 January

Time: 9:30am

Location: Point Farms (meet at Main Shed), Darlington Point

For more information, contact: 
James Hill - 0408 892 317
Matt Watson - 0427 566 656

Date: 
22/01/2015
Location: 
Darlington Point NSW

Field walk: early season picking trial - Emerald

Cotton growers in Central QLD are invited to a field walk with QLD DAFF senior scientist Paul Grundy on Monday 19 January to look at the early planted cotton, which has had its first defoliation and is nearing picking.

Date: Monday, 19 January 2015

Time: 3-4pm 

Location: Dougall Millar's property, 'Orana', Wills Road.

For more information, contact:
Ngaire Rougley, CottonInfo technical specialist (0427 556 311, ngaire.roughley@daff.qld.gov.au)
Renee Anderson, Cotton Australia regional manager (0448 125 156, reneea@cotton.org.au)

Date: 
19/01/2015
Location: 
Emerald QLD

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